SEAN ‘MASHER’ DODD – A TRIBUTE.
Since the late 1990s Birkenhead has been in steady decline, problems of mass unemployment as well as high rates of crime and poverty have ravaged this once great town. In recent years, there has not been a lot to smile about. However, one bright star in these dark years has been the boxing career of Sean ‘MASHER’ Dodd.
By his own admission, Dodd was a Scallywag brought up on the local estates and much of his youth was spent fighting either on football pitches or in pubs and clubs. This started to change one Friday night at a local Boxing show, aged in his mid-20s the football playing loveable rogue was about to change his life inspired by the events of that night. Dodd walked in through the doors of Birkenhead Venture Boxing Club the very next Monday.
In Boxing terms. Dodd didn’t know his left from his right but he was fit, lean, strong, determined and a good blank canvas to work from. A very short time later, he would compete for the first time. Dodd only tasted defeat twice in his 19 contests as an amateur, winning two National Titles at two different weights along the way: Novice Class-A and Class-B at welterweight and Light-Welterweight respectively.
Whilst lacking natural flair and talent, his awkward style and his unorthodox approach made him a great fit for the professional game. So, in March 2012 Dodd would make his debut at Chester’s Northgate arena against Guiseppe Daprato. Hundreds of Masher’s friends, family and clubmates followed him in droves as he soon started to have a cult following.
Dodd then won his first eight contests straight, with an eventual Central Area Super Featherweight title shot against Barnsley’s Andy Townend scheduled for May 2014. Hundreds of supporters from both side’s made for a powder-keg atmosphere and during the fight a riot between both sets of fans ensued, bringing the Doncaster Dome venue into chaos. After two re-starts to the fight and his concentration, Dodd lost to a seventh round TKO.
Dodd then bounced back 10 months later with a points win against Liam Richards, 6 months after that Scott Cardle the reigning British Light-weight Champion withdrew from a title defence against Wales’ Gary Buckland. Dodd stepped in as a late replacement for the champion which was now built as a British title fight eliminator by Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, this would be Dodd’s first appearance live on Sky Sports. After a shock victory against the multi-titled Buckland, Dodd was now going to challenge Cardle for the British Lightweight title. On the 7th November 2015, Dodd boxed Cardle and was way ahead of him on the judge’s scorecards when he was controversially stopped in the very last round; the uproar was massive and referee Terry O’Connor was scrutinised and an immediate re-match was ordered.
Five months later, the pair met again and Dodd had seemingly cruised to a comfortable win. However, after the result was announced – two judges had it even and one judge had Dodd winning by two rounds. Besides this, the decision was a technical draw allowing Cardle to retain his title. The sense of injustice was massive and the controversy is talked about to this day.
However, any disappointment was short lived as in his very next fight Dodd boxed for the WBC International Lightweight title winning on points against Italy’s Pasquale Di Silvio on a hot May evening in the open air at Goodison Park. This was on the Tony Bellew world title winning show.
Following up from that victory, came a win against Francesco Patera who two fights later won the European title. More was yet to come, Masher added the Commonwealth Lightweight title to his WBC International as he beat Lee Appleyard widely on points. Dodd then went on to box at his beloved Tranmere Rovers, winning the International Masters Super Lightweight title against Antonio Horvatic.
Next up was a hate-filled local derby against Liverpool’s Thomas Stalker, a former Great Britain amateur team captain and Olympian, Dodd silencing the Liverpudlian with a wide points win. Dodd then lost his Commonwealth crown to Hull’s Tommy Coyle then took Wales’ Joe Cordina to a 12 round points decision loss. Only last weekend, Cordina confirmed his potential by becoming the IBF Champion of the World. A surprising sixth round defeat to Jordan Ellison on points made it a hat-trick of defeats but two great wins against Ibrar Riyaz and another local derby against Scouser Tom Farrell had him back in the mix.
A controversial three rounds points loss to Birmingham’s Cori Gibbs in the Sky Sports Boxxer Series was recently followed up by a two round defeat to the upcoming Harlem Eubank.
If we were to take a look back over Masher’s opponents, and achievements it becomes quite impressive: Two amatuer National Title’s at two different weights, a British Title controversially snatched from him, WBC International Champion, Commonwealth Champion, International Masters Champion, having boxed a European Champion and now IBF World Champion, an Olympian and with a record like a who’s who of domestic boxing star’s it would appear our local scallywag has achieved more than most can ever dream of. If you coupled this with the fact that Masher didn’t know the first thing about Boxing until his mid-20’s, I think you would agree that his achievements have been more than outstanding.
It is hoped with this vast experience that he will be able to pass down some of that knowledge on to the next generation at his gym – The Birkenhead Venture Boxing Club. Regardless of what this bright star decides to shine on next, a man of such calibre will never have to buy a pint in Birkenhead ever again.
Sean ‘MASHER’ Dodd – Thank you for the memories.